Fees, fees and more fees

College in America is expensive, and it’s something every college student learns to deal with. While furthering your education is an investment in your future, it is also important to keep in mind that it also serves as income for the institution. You are paying Portland State to further your education, which in some ways makes you, the student, the boss. Have you taken charge?
I have changed my major over the past academic year, as a lot of students probably have. I declared my new major and minor through Banweb at the start of the term, under the impression that this declaration would inform the PSU administration to issue the appropriate tuition and fees henceforth.


In the past, I just glanced over the bill knowing that financial aid would cover it. But when I received my spring term bill, I looked a little closer at tuition and fees and was shocked at how much it all added up to. Even with financial aid and loans, my budget for spring term was running tight.

Between the mandatory fees, incidental fees and base tuition, my head was spinning, like trying to decode a 10-page user agreement. I wanted to click “I Agree,” but something wasn’t adding up. I investigated further to make sure that I was, in fact, being charged the right amount, only to discover that I was still being charged differential tuition from my previous major.

You might be paying a differential fee based on what program you’re enrolled in. Business, engineering, fine and performing arts, and university honor students pay on average $25 more per credit than other undergraduate programs. On my bill, I was being charged an extra $200 that would go toward the College of the Arts—even though I am no longer enrolled in that school—and that is money I would like to keep in my pocket.

It’s not as simple as just changing or confirming your major via Banweb. It took phone calls to the registrar’s office, financial services and the specific college itself to get the fees removed. If you have changed majors in the past year, I would advise that you look over your bill and check the fees listed on the Financial Services site to confirm that it is the correct amount. Out of over 28,000 students and 120 majors, there is the possibility that you are being overcharged.

What it all boils down to is money. My investment is PSU’s income, so I shouldn’t be surprised that I was being overcharged with no word from the university; it is more money for them, after all. The school and the student are dependent on each other: I need an education, and they need money to fund and provide it. But when money is the tether in this relationship, be proactive and take charge. Make sure that you know where your money is going and that you are paying the correct amount. As a student, every penny counts toward buying that course textbook or maybe that next slice of pizza.